Volunteer Engagement 2.0 Author Spotlight: Joe Waters, SelfishGiving.com

Joe Waters, contributor to VolunteerMatch's new book, Volunteer Engagement 2.0: Ideas and Insights Changing the WorldVolunteerMatch’s new book, Volunteer Engagement 2.0: Ideas and Insights Changing the World, features chapters from 35 experts in the field of volunteer engagement. In this series of blog posts, get to know these #35experts and their areas of expertise.

Today’s expert: Joe Waters Founder, SelfishGiving.com.

The following post, written by Joe Waters, originally appeared on the Selfish Giving blog.

I’m excited to be one of the 35 experts in VolunteerMatch’s new book, Volunteer Engagement 2.0: Ideas and Insights Changing the World.

I was surprised when VolunteerMatch asked me to contribute a chapter. I just didn’t view cause marketing as connected to volunteering – and I thought the book’s editor, Robert Rosenthal, and I agreed on this point!

You see, Robert was the guy who dissuaded me from including volunteering in my last book on nonprofit fundraising, Fundraising with Businesses: 40 New & Improved Strategies for Nonprofits.

I had considered several volunteer-related strategies for the book, but in the end I only included one: volunteer grants, also known as dollars for doers programs, which match a corporate volunteer’s time with a small grant from the company to the nonprofit.

So, why would I now write a chapter on cause marketing for a book on volunteering? Because Robert actually had a much better grasp of what volunteering is and where it’s headed than I did. Although he was right to nix volunteering from a book on fundraising tactics, he was also right that volunteering would have a major impact on cause marketing. Robert challenged me to adjust my perspective on the connection between volunteering and cause marketing.

A major hurdle for me was realizing that volunteering was more than just those little old ladies who used to stuff envelopes at my last nonprofit job.

No, volunteering is so much more.

Volunteering is when a person freely chooses to spend his or her time – unpaid – supporting a needy group or individual. A volunteer’s goal is to have a meaningful, measurable impact.

Using my new lens on volunteering, I peered out and discovered something incredible: Volunteering isn’t just connected to cause marketing; it’s the future of cause marketing. As focused as I was on defining cause marketing as a partnership between a nonprofit and for profit, I neglected the spark that makes these pacts ignite: individuals. These motivated and empowered do-gooders will be the key drivers of growth over the next generation.

You can read all about it in Volunteer Engagement 2.0!

Along with my chapter, you can read the contributions of 34 other volunteering experts.

  • Beth Kanter explains Measuring the Volunteer Program.
  • Aria Finger talks about Engaging Millennials and other Younger Volunteers.
  • Amy Sample Ward writes about Volunteer Engagement on the Social Web.
  • Scott Henderson talks about Getting the Most Out of Hackathons for Social Good.
  • Angela Parker and Chris Jarvis write on Partnering with Workplace Volunteer Programs.

This book has everything. An awesome, relevant topic, a great editor, a wonderful group of contributors and a chapter from yours truly!

Volunteer Engagement 2.0: Ideas and Insights Changing the WorldTo read Joe’s full chapter, Volunteering and Future of Cause Marketing, order your copy of Volunteer Engagement 2.0: Ideas and Insights Changing the World today.




How VolunteerMatch Volunteers: The Power of Teams

The VolunteerMatch Team at Baker Beach

My VolunteerMatch volunteer team at Baker Beach

At VolunteerMatch, we work full-time on volunteerism. But we also like to get out of the office and volunteer ourselves!

That’s why we’ve split up our staff into small volunteer teams, each led by a team captain.

Mainly, this is for encouragement. We want our staff to feel like they’re supported in their volunteer efforts. A team gives them a place to go to share what they’re working on, generates suggestions from coworkers for new volunteer opportunities, and builds momentum for volunteerism within our organization.

Recently, the volunteer team I lead volunteered at the Golden Gate National Parks Conservancy (GGNPC). It’s one of my personal favorite organizations to volunteer with in the Bay Area. The staff are incredibly friendly and organized, and I feel great giving back to a place that allows millions of San Franciscans to enjoy its services every year.

Another reason why I love volunteering with the GGNPC is their amazing group volunteering activities. With summer coming, I was looking for a volunteer project that would get me and my coworkers outside for the afternoon. I emailed GGNPC letting them know the size of my group and the dates we were available. They quickly put together a project plan for us with directions to the project site, details on what we would be doing and some information on the impact we would be making to their organization.

Our group arrived at a wooded area next to Baker Beach with a warm welcome from the GGNPC staff. They told us some amazing facts about the area (such as, San Francisco used to get its water from a stream running into Baker Beach) and the types of plants we would be seeing during the day. They instructed us on how to pull weeds and plant flowers correctly, along with how to most efficiently use each of the gardening tools.

After three hours of work, our team had worked so diligently that the GGNPC team rewarded us with a guided Nature Walk. Taking us through the woods, they showed us how volunteers like us make a difference in the natural habitat. Without our weeding and gardening, the beautiful California poppies wouldn’t be able to survive! Our nature hike ended at Baker Beach where we were rewarded with a spectacular view.

I encourage anyone – companies, organizations/ clubs, families, groups of friends – to seek out opportunities such as this.  Group volunteering is a great way to get people out of their chairs and interacting with one another. (And if you’re in the San Francisco Bay area, check out the GGNPC!)

2014 Impact Report: Volunteer Engagement Shows Signs of Recovery

2014 Impact Report 2“Our democracy works because ordinary folks, well-meaning people, each and every day are trying to make it a little bit better.”  -Barack Obama, May 4, 2015

Every year, VolunteerMatch crunches its network data to put together an Impact Report, our infographic version of an annual report. And each year, the report offers insights into volunteer engagement trends, and the people and causes making a difference in neighborhoods across the country.

This year, we discovered five encouraging stats that show the nonprofit sector and volunteer engagement may finally be recovering from the economic recession.

Volunteer Engagement by the Numbers:

Stats from VolunteerMatch's 2014 Impact Report

  • 99,132 – the number of groups and causes on VolunteerMatch. working to engage the volunteers they need to make a difference in their community. A record 8,200 new causes registered in 2014.
  • 20% – the increase in new opportunities posted on VolunteerMatch by local causes and groups, inviting volunteers to put their time and talent to good use for a cause they believe in, as compared with 2013.
  • 13,285,814 – the number of potential volunteers accessing VolunteerMatch to find their opportunity match to make a difference.
  • 44% — the increase in the number of potential volunteers who connected with a local cause or organization, as compared with 2013.
  • $1.34 Billion — the estimated collective impact of the volunteers who used VolunteerMatch in 2014 to get involved.

If you are looking for more data and insights into the health of volunteer engagement, view the full report.

The New Face Behind @VolunteerMatch (And Much More!)

The following post is by Stephanie Hong, one of VolunteerMatch’s newest employee. Please join us in welcoming Stephanie to the team!

Stephanie Hong, VolunteerMatch's Community Engagement ManagerMy first memory of volunteering was when I was 7 years old. My older brother was in the Boy Scouts and I tagged along for their Habitat for Humanity project. I still recall that day: it was warm but breezy, everyone was in a good mood, and we finished ahead of schedule. Granted, I was too young to do any heavy lifting, but I remember feeling a wave of emotion when we completed the project.

Flash forward to now – I’m still addicted to that feeling. From helping various animal welfare organizations, to partnering with local food banks, to being an animal keeper at a museum, volunteering has brought me so many fond memories. And now I get to make it part of my career! I’ve joined VolunteerMatch as the Community Engagement Manager. #Woohoo!

As the Community Engagement Manager, I am the voice of VolunteerMatch on social media. Actually, not just the voice, but the cheerleader. The person who gets nonprofits, volunteers, and companies excited to change the (gimme a) W-O-R-L-D. Analytics and advertising are also in my court. Meaning, not only do I cheer everyone on, I also make sure we’re doing it right and getting in front of as many faces as possible.

With experience from the advertising industry and, most recently, media at the San Francisco SPCA, I bring forth marketing expertise, an investigative mind, and a big heart. Spreading VolunteerMatch’s mission is easy; the hard part will be getting people to act. But that is what drives me to do more, and, ultimately, drove me to join VolunteerMatch and its wonderful Engagement team. I want everyone to feel the feeling I felt when I was 7 years old.

To learn more about me, my career, and projects I’ve worked on, connect with me on LinkedIn. To join the VolunteerMatch conversation, follow us on Twitter, LinkedIn, & Facebook. Cheers to new adventures in volunteerism, corporate social responsibility, and people wanting to do good!

35 Volunteer Engagement Experts. One Book.

Volunteer Engagement 2.0: VolunteerMatch's New BookFourteen months since I left VolunteerMatch to travel the world, I’m delighted to be back in the pages of EngagingVolunteers.org with an important announcement.

On May 26, 2015, VolunteerMatch’s new book on volunteer engagement for nonprofits, Volunteer Engagement 2.0: Ideas and Insights Changing the World, will be available for purchase!

Following VolunteerMatch’s approach to training and capacity building, I asked 35 of the smartest volunteer engagement consultants, trainers, and practitioners to share their thoughts on what’s truly important for transforming volunteerism into lasting impact. The result brings together under a single cover one of the greatest collections of experts and practitioners in volunteer engagement that the field has ever seen.

No, this isn’t a how-to guide for “managing” volunteers. Although of course that kind of thing is important. Volunteer Engagement 2.0 is about ideas.

VolunteerMatch is committed to broadening the conversation around volunteer engagement. If you have ever attend VolunteerMatch’s Nonprofit Insights webinar series, you’ve seen that firsthand. What are the concepts, the trends, and the big ideas that are impacting how nonprofits and individuals work together to transform human capital and care into impact?  You can now find them all in one place: Volunteer Engagement 2.0.

Striking a balance between actionable strategy and broad discussion of the issues surrounding volunteerism, Volunteer Engagement 2.0 helps readers craft a strategy that reflects their organization’s mission. Here are some of the ways you’ll be able to get immediate benefit from Volunteer Engagement 2.0:

  • Track the history of volunteerism, as well as the social, cultural, and technological shifts that will shape its future.
  • Keep current volunteers on board, and engage additional volunteers, donors, and board members.
  • Use new tools and trends such as social media, microvolunteering, virtual volunteering, and hackathons.
  • Recruit corporate partners, adopt skilled volunteers, and identify pro bono resources.
  • Quantify and evaluate your volunteer program’s effectiveness, and adjust your strategies.

As for the contributors, well, this is an all-star list. How about DoSomething’s Aria Finger on engaging millennials, LinkedIn’s Meg Garlinghouse on skilled volunteerism, Beth Kanter on measuring volunteer engagement, Susan J. Ellis on what “change” means in volunteer engagement, Joe Waters on Cause Marketing and volunteering, Jayne Cravens on virtual volunteering, Points of Light’s Amy Smith on service enterprises… the list goes on and on.

And it’s a crazy great list. For the last year I’ve been in Asia exploring NGOs in Thailand, India, Nepal, and Pakistan, among other places. It’s a big world with lots of challenges but also a lot of amazing organizations doing great work. Similarly, bringing the best ideas and insights from around the sector to you – all in one place ­– is what Volunteer Engagement 2.0 is all about. Pre-order your copy today.

Robert Rosenthal, Editor of Volunteerism 2.0Robert Rosenthal is a consultant for social change and sustainable development with more than 15 years of experience helping nonprofits, corporations and social enterprises connect with audiences, design programs, and communicate impact. Previously he headed communications and marketing for VolunteerMatch, the Web’s largest volunteer engagement network, where he worked from 2006-2014. Robert is an active writer and trainer, and frequently speaks to audiences about fundraising, volunteering, public relations, cause marketing, social media and corporate social responsibility. Find him on Twitter at @socialgoodR.